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18,000 fake Viagra pills seized in raids

Chinese police have seized more than a tonne of fake drugs for impotence; bird flu and malaria, including at least 18,000 fake Viagra tablets.

world Updated: Jul 25, 2007 23:33 IST

Chinese police have seized more than a tonne of fake drugs for impotence; bird flu and malaria, including at least 18,000 fake Viagra tablets, state media reported on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Public Security, which launched the national crackdown on counterfeit goods in 2005, announced 10 of its top cases ranging from fake drugs to fake toothpaste on Tuesday, the Xinhua news agency said on its Web site.

More than 30 people were detained on suspicion of either making or selling the drugs.

Police in the eastern province of Zhejiang raided a gang making counterfeit Viagra and selling the tablets to 12 countries, including the United States and Holland, it said, adding that a total of 18,000 pills were seized.

In Guangdong, police had arrested 12 people and seized one tonne of fake drugs and two production lines and large quantities of raw materials for making "sildenafil citrate", the scientific name of Viagra.

Police detained 19 suspects and shut down six factories in May last year for making fake Tamiflu, a bird flu drug, and selling it to the United States via the Internet, the agency said.

In April last year, police cracked a ring making and selling pirated toothpaste across the country and arrested five suspects, it said.

Chinese media report on scandals involving substandard or fake drug and food almost every day, and the issue burst into the international spotlight when tainted additives exported from China contaminated pet food in North America.

Public fears about food safety grew in China in 2004 when at least 13 babies died of malnutrition after they were fed fake mild power with no nutritional value.